Future Female Drivers in F1?


The issue of female Formula 1 drivers is one that isn’t going to go away any time soon. Will we get to see one in the next ten years?

Despite the uncertainty from the likes of Susie Wolff and David Coulthard, there are a few candidates. Here are my top five, with their chances of making it.

Tatiana Calderon.

This year’s new female F1 hopeful filling one of the development seats at Sauber. Calderon is highly experienced in single-seaters having done one season in GP3 and five in European F3. Tatiana really upped her game in 2016, nudging into the GP3 top ten on three occasions and earning a podium in the EuroFormula Open series at the Red Bull Ring.

Despite her long apprenticeship she’s still only 24 years old. The Sauber development work will be combined with another season in GP3 driving for the DAMS team but she will really need to make a good job of this if she wants to be considered seriously for an F1 race seat. The dual role bodes well as she is keeping herself race-fit as well as staying in the spotlight.

Funding does not seem to be a massive problem for her, which we know is at least as important as results. If Tatiana does manage to pick up a win in GP3 she may have more than one team after her signature. Formula E is another possibility if she impresses at DAMS.

Carmen Jorda.

Carmen is still hanging on as a development driver at Renault, although her role has become increasingly nebulous and she is now a ‘Renault Sport Development Driver’ rather than being directly attached to the Renault F1 team.

Her one decent season in Spanish F3 is starting to look like a long time ago back in 2008. Jorda did do some racing in 2016 in the Renault Sport Trophy and was steady rather than competitive in the amateur class.

Now isn’t the time for a re-run of the great Carmen Jorda debate of 2015 but we can safely say that she is not there on merit. However, money talks and she clearly has plenty of that. A token Friday practice drive may have been in the offing once but even that looks highly unlikely now.

Sophia Flörsch.

Flörsch burst onto the scene in 2015 aged just fourteen winning two races in the Ginetta Junior championship in the UK. She then decided to quit the championship in order to afford a season in the German Formula 4 series in 2016.

Formula 4 was something of a baptism of fire. The season began well enough with a ninth and fifth at Oschersleben but her lack of experience and testing began to show. Hopefully without the distractions of exams (which stopped her from attending some test days) she will make a stronger mark on the Italian and German F4 series in 2017.

One good season will probably be enough for her to be snapped up for a young driver programme. F1 is probably a while off, but don’t count her out.

Naomi Schiff.

Bernie Ecclestone’s dream girl. Talented, mixed race and personable. Currently racing sportscars for Reiter Engineering in the GT4 European Series. She’s been actively racing a KTM X-Bow for a couple of seasons now and has been associated with the Reiter team since 2013.

Schiff has won races that she should be expected to win and was the 2014 Asia Clio Cup champion. This may not have been the most prestigious of titles but it does demonstrate that she has the race craft and killer instinct to stay in front.

The biggest hurdle to her claiming an F1 seat is her lack of single-seater experience. A few Formula Renault races in Europe and Asia in 2013 aren’t enough to judge her potential and for this reason she is unlikely to make it to Formula One. Le Mans or the DTM seem more likely in the future.

Jamie Chadwick.

Jamie sneaked in at the start of this season by announcing her ride in British F3 with Double R Racing and certainly knows her way around the front end of the grid having won the British GT4 championship in 2015 although single-seaters are new for her.

The early signs are good as she has already earned her first podium of the year with a third at Rockingham. Admittedly, she was taking advantage of a reverse grid but it shows that when she’s near the front can be a contender. As well as a podium, she’s also been disqualified once for her rather “physical” driving style. Jamie seems to have the killer instinct that the likes of David Coulthard prefer not to acknowledge in women.

This season is an important one for her and if she continues to do well, expect rival teams to be sniffing around. She could be a dark horse for the championship.  An approach by a WEC team is another possibility.